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More than a hundred unemployed youth got down to the start of three years of learning at City Parks’ new training academy. They will study horticulture and business skills.
SKILLS that will eventually get them jobs will be taught to 105 unemployed youths through Johannesburg City Parks’ newly launched academy for environmental sciences and small, medium and micro enterprises (SMMEs).


MMC Matshidiso Mfikoe and acting City Parks MD Geoffrey Cooke officially launch the training academyMMC Matshidiso Mfikoe and acting City Parks MD Geoffrey Cooke officially launch the training academyCity Parks launched the academy on Wednesday, 2 February at the Johannesburg Botanic Gardens Education Centre, in Emmarentia. The youngsters began their training this morning.

“The project is aimed at creating decent, permanent employment in a sector that is labour intensive, and we are hopeful that this is the beginning of a programme that will be rolled out on a larger scale with support from business,” said City Parks’ acting managing director, Geoffrey Cooke at the launch.

The launch was also attended by the member of the mayoral committee for environment, Matshidiso Mfikoe. She said she was hopeful that "the seed being sown...will reap huge rewards for a bright future for our youth in Joburg".

"I also have a message for the fortunate youth present here toda, that made it through the gruelling selection process. You are the chosen few and you have earned the right to be here today. However, with this right comes a responsibility to ensure that you are loyal, committed and hard-working to make the project a success."

City Parks’ spokesperson Jenny Moodley said the academy was aimed at addressing the skills gap by providing young people with relevant skills, and alleviating poverty through creating sustainable jobs. It would teach horticultural and basic business skills that would enable learners to work as horticulturalists in the organisation.

“The project will fill the skills gap left by the natural attrition at City Parks, to meet the mandate of providing timely and quality services to the residents of Johannesburg,” she said.

The 105 candidates were identified from the City of Johannesburg’s Job Pathways database for the unemployed. The database was largely accessed by municipal-owned entities and contractors that undertook infrastructure development projects on behalf of the City through the Expanded Public Works Programme.


Scores of Joburg youth are assured of a decen job, thanks to JPC's training academy Scores of Joburg youth are assured of a decent job, thanks to JPC's training academyMoodley explained that the utility was acting on the call made by President Jacob Zuma to create decent jobs, permanent employment and provide young people with a platform to acquire relevant skills needed by the job market.

“The 105 youths will be absorbed by City Parks as part of their permanent workforce on completion of the three-year training and will be compensated at a monthly salary of R2 500 in the first year, R3 500 in the second year and R4 500 in their final year.”

She pointed out that the academy would be funded by the savings generated from the current salary bill, an initiative by the national government, in a bid to create more sustainable jobs.

Explaining other skills provided, Moodley said the academy would also equip the youth with small business management skills to give them the option of establishing SMMEs, which would then render services to City Parks and the greening industry, or of being absorbed into the organisation’s permanent work force.

It would work hand-in-hand with other stakeholders in the business sector that would teach the trainees about starting and managing a small business.

The academy would continue after this intake only if City Parks could generate enough money. For the next three years it would concentrate on the 105 candidates selected.

To celebrate the launch of the academy, Mfikoe and Cooke, assisted by the new recruits, planted a tree at the Education Centre grounds.

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